Beacon Rock, Washington

Beacon Rock is a monolithic structure on the Washington side of the Columbia River, the park that surrounds it takes its name from the structure and provides the usual amenities like bathrooms, fresh water and camping.

The rock itself provides areas for technical rock climbing for the extreme visitors, and hiking  for the rest of us mere mortals. From the parking lot it looks as though it would be extremely challenging to hike and I was all geared up to huff and puff my way up the hill. But it turns out to be a pretty casual incline due to all the switch backs and the path is fairly even. Hand rails are provided the entire time for those prone to tripping, swooning or leaning out over edges to take pictures. You could in all likely hood take on the hill with what ever you happen to be wearing that day, it is not long and the view is well worth the climb.

Beacon Rock was named by Lewis and Clark originally as Beaten Rock, allegedly due to the water marks made on the stone by the Columbia River which was much less tame in those years. It was named and renamed but then finally went back to Beacon Rock officially in 1915.
It was nearly destroyed by the state and it took a man named Henry Biddle 20 years to convince the state of Washington to turn the area into a state park, finally convincing the government after he offered it up to Oregon. They finally accepted at the threat of losing some of their riverfront to the neighboring state. You can thank Henry not only for having the foresight to save the area for public recreation but also for building the trail and picnic areas that stand today.


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White River Falls – Tygh Valley, Or

White River Falls was a hydroelectric plant that supplied Sherman and Wasco Counties with power from 1910 until 1960. Much of the damn and associated hydropower bulidings and equipment are still standing at the base of the valley, which you can see in the picture below.

The waterfall itself is about 90 feet, and while in the summer the water flow doesn’t seem like much, in the spring it has enough volume to have earned the nickname of ‘The Niagra Falls of the West’.

The park is free for use, the upper park includes the parking lot and a lookout as well as a series of placards explaining the history of the dam. We did not hike down due to the heat and timing but the trail leads off from the upper lot, down along the cliff, past the hydro building and back along the river. The trail then goes onto state land and private land. There are quite a few resources out there discussing both history and usage of the area, this site World of Waterfalls covers it nicely.
I would very much like to go back in the spring to experince the waterfall at its height and also in more friendly weather to hike down into the canyon. It was a very beauitful spot, and just off the main highway from Maupin so if you find yourself in the area with a little extra time I high suggest the stop.

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Friend, Oregon

Friend Oregon is by most writes a relatively intact ghost town. It has a graveyard, a school and a store. However, it is also on or near someone’s property! When we drove down to take pictures and explore the little town we were greeted by a pack of dogs. Farm dogs and likely very nice but we weren’t willing to test the theory by exploring on foot. So all we saw while there was the store front.

A very cool building and an excellent example of early 20th century architecture which is so common here in Oregon. My favorite part always being the use of large windows. My dream house would probably look similar. Large wall to wall windows and a big porch for reading outdoors.

Friend was named after George J Friend, the post office which was established in 1903 was done so on his old homestead site. The town was the end terminal of the Great Southern Railroad so at the time it was a very busy spot. But the railroad stopped operation in 1936 and with it the town slowly died.

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